The Aaron Hicks experience for the Yankees has recently ended (finally). But the Yankees aren’t done seeing Aaron Hicks.
That was always going to be the case, though. Starting in 2023, MLB instituted a scheduling change where all teams play each other throughout the regular season. This change de-emphasizes divisional play. So, as long as Hicks landed on a big-league roster, New York would see him again at some point.
But even with head-to-head divisional play getting toned down, the Yankees still face their fellow American League East opponents more than usual. So when news dropped of Hicks agreeing to a deal with the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, one of the first things I wondered was when the outfielder would be returning to Yankee Stadium.
As you might imagine, it won’t be a long wait. The Yankees and Orioles just faced off in the Bronx last week, but Baltimore will be coming back to New York for the Fourth of July holiday. They’ll arrive on July 3rd and stick around for a four-game set.
There’s a good chance Hicks will get significant playing time, too. After all, center fielder Cedric Mullins just hit the injured list with a strained groin. So, who knows how long he’ll be on the sideline?
Does he really have anything left in the tank, though? The last couple of years has been a struggle. Hicks also began 2023 with a .188/.263/.261 triple slash in 76 plate appearances before getting DFA’d. He’s only in his age-33 campaign, so you’d have to think there’s something left in the basement, right?
Obviously, the Orioles think so. Here’s what Baltimore general manager Mike Elias told the Baltimore Sun about bringing the outfielder in:
We have stuff that we look at from a scouting and evaluation perspective that, as I’ve said before, it’s very different from looking at the back of a baseball card. We hope that we get a bounce back from anyone we bring in here.
You may not get a great outcome on everything, but we see stuff with Aaron Hicks that we like, and it feels like a good fit for us. I hope this is a shot in the arm for him, and I hope that he helps us out and helps us win some games.
We’ll see if the Orioles can catch lightning in a bottle. If they do, you’d have to imagine general manager Brian Cashman will be a little annoyed about it.
But for now, Hicks will focus on a change of scenery and an opportunity for regular-ish at-bats. And, the Yankees’ social media team has plenty of time to create Hicks’ tribute video for when the Orioles make it back to the Bronx in July. Hopefully, the rally lizard will be in attendance for the outfielder’s triumphant return.